Competition season is one of the main reasons why people come back to marching band again and again. Camaraderie amongst the band and excitement are at its highest. There is a reason why veteran marchers always tell first-years to “just wait for competition season”.
Our competitions are on Saturdays and are all-day events. Typically, we rehearse in the mornings just to refresh ourselves with the show and work through any last-minute details that the staff wants to hit. Then we have to help load the trucks and take care of our own equipment and uniforms. We normally have a small break after we pack the trucks to get food or just generally prep for the performance. Everyone does something different during this time, but I always loved to go get food with my friends then go home and clean up before heading back to school (depending on how long the break was).
The bus rides to the competitions are always lively, but, when we approach the campus of the competition, we transition to ‘silent bus’. This is a very important tradition and ritual for the Myers Park Marching Band because the silence helps all members focus and maintain a calm, active mind before competition. No one is allowed to talk while transitioning from the bus to the uniform changing area to the practice area. When we march to the field to perform, the hope is that every marcher is feeling centered and not panicked about the show. Once the show is done, competitions turn into the most fun experiences of band. While members are still expected to be respectful of the other bands performing, we can get food, hang out, and talk with our friends. The final part of a
competition is the award ceremony. At Myers Park, we pride ourselves on being respectful of all of the bands, and for this reason, we stay silent and solemn during the award ceremony. However, after the ceremony is over, we definitely love celebrating our wins and learning from our losses.
I still remember my very first band competition. I was overwhelmed and nervous, but unbelievably excited. We ended up winning grand champion overall in that competition, and the trophy that we won was taller than the Drum Major that went to accept it. Winning feels amazing, but after four years in this program, I can tell you it isn’t everything. If the only thing you value or draw motivation from is winning a huge trophy, you need to prepare yourself for a lot of disappointment. As I grew in this program, I can honestly say that I cared less and less about the trophies because I already felt like I had won just by having the opportunity to be a part of the marching band experience (as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true). The moments that I will remember and cherish have nothing to do with the award ceremonies, rather, the community that I was a part of and helped foster.